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MD|DC LEGISLATIVE UPDATE January 30, 2018
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Register for 2018 Maryland Legislative Reception
Greetings,

More than 1,200 bills have been filed in Maryland. The MD|DC Credit Union Association's Advocacy Team is closely monitoring 50 bills that have the potential to impact credit unions. Several of those bills are highlighted below. We continue to work with legislators on a consumer data breach protection bill to increase accountability.

Maryland's Financial Consumer Protection Commission released its interim report with recommendations. Details are below. Here's Maryland's political roundup:
In the District, the government has launched a public awareness campaign to increase compliance with its commuter benefits law that took effect in 2016. See the article below to find out what your credit union needs to do to comply with the law.

I would also like to remind you to please register for the 2018 Maryland Legislative Reception on Tuesday, February 6 in Annapolis. It is an opportunity to connect directly with lawmakers and educate them on the issues impacting consumers and credit unions. Lawmakers in attendance typically seek out credit unions serving their communities, so it is important that credit unions are well-represented.

We hope you find this information useful!

John Bratsakis
President/CEO
 
District of Columbia Legislative Update

Commuter Benefits Law
The District government has launched a public awareness campaign about its Commuter Benefits law that took effect in 2016. Here's what your credit union needs to know: D.C. businesses with 20 or more employees must offer at least one of the following commuter benefit options to all full-time and part-time employees performing 50 percent of their work in the District:
  • Option 1: Employee paid, pre-tax benefit
  • Option 2: Employer paid, direct benefit up to $260/month. (This can be merged with the first option, employer and employee can contribute)
  • Option 3: Employer provided transportation (van pool or shuttle service)
Enrollment for commuter benefits must be open and available to covered employees throughout the year. Employers need to notify employees of the benefit, and provide information to covered employees about how to apply for and receive the benefit.
Due to a change in the federal tax code, commuter benefits are no longer tax deductible for companies, however, there are tax savings on FICA payroll taxes. See details in the SmartBenefitsĀ® program at www.wmata.com/smartbenefits .  

For more information about covered employers and employees, please contact the Department of Employment Services, Office of Wage-Hour at does.dc.gov, 202-671-1880 or OWH.ask@dc.gov.
DC Council Considers Proposal to Break Up the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
District Council Chair Phil Mendelson has introduced a bill to divide the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs into two agencies; one with responsibility for building codes and inspections and the other for licensing and consumer protection. Mendelson says the agency is too large and mismanaged to operate effectively.  If approved, the legislation would take effect in 2019.
Maryland General Assembly Update

Recommendations from Financial Consumer Protection Commission Released 
The interim report from the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission was released. The Commission is charged with monitoring and reporting on potential and actual changes to federal financial laws. Key recommendations include:
  • Requiring credit reporting agencies such as Equifax to alert consumer data breaches promptly (within 30 days) and to provide free credit freezes.
  • Adopting addtional new financial protection laws by the General Assembly where new developments have revealed new risks, such as developments related to student loans; financial technology; virtual currencies such as Bitcoin; and consumer data breaches.
  • Ensure that Maryland's congressional delegation advocates for financial consumer protections and oppose elimination of those protections through legislation or regulation.
  • Vigorous enforcement by and funding of" the Maryland Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division and the Maryland Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation.

The entire report can be viewed here.
 

Legislative leaders have indicated that legislation resulting from the Commission's recommendations will be introduced during the 2018 General Assembly session. SECU's president/CEO is a Commission member.

SB0368  Labor and Employment - State Minimum Wage Rate - Increase
Specifying the State minimum wage rate in effect for certain time periods based on employer size; increasing the State minimum wage rate based on the annual growth in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area, or a certain successor index; requiring the Commissioner of Labor and Industry, beginning at a certain time, to annually determine and announce the growth in the Consumer Price Index and the new State minimum wage rate; etc.
Position: Monitoring 
SB0304 Maryland Healthy Working Families Act - Enforcement - Delayed Implementation
Prohibiting the Commissioner of Labor and Industry from enforcing compliance with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act until 60 days after February 11, 2018. 
Position: Support